Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

The eighth-century prophet Amos calls those who violate God’s laws as “cows” [Amos 4:1] prophet Jeremiah calls such people “scoundrels” [Jeremiah 5:26]. Jesus calls evil people “You brood of vipers!” [Matthew 12:34], in another place he calls them “a wicked and adulterous generation.” [Mathew 16:4] If you happen to be among those violating many of God’s commands, God’s chosen people in the Bible may label you “cows”, “scoundrels”, “brood of vipers”, “wicked and adulterous”. I am not the one labeling the culprits such names, it’s the Bible.

Is ignorance a dangerous crime? Henry Ward Beecher (1813 –1887) was a clergyman and social reformer. He was, in fact, America’s most famous preacher. Henry is quoted to have said that “the most dangerous people are the ignorant” and I agree with him because “if one is ignorant of a matter one easily becomes opposed to it” as concluded by Ali bin Abi Twalib, the scholar from the Arabian Peninsula.

And how sad when people are purposefully oblivious to a matter which is actually important for themselves. People who “knoweth not what” will always make loud gibberish accusations against those who may be walking in the straight path. Just like the foolish woman in proverbs 9:13-15, “The foolish woman is loud; she is ignorant and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way.” An illustration of how people are unaware of their own beliefs let alone of others is when George Gallup, a leading Evangelical and a premier pollster describe America as “a nation of biblical illiterates.” One Gallup survey found that less than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (i.e. Genesis), sixty percent cannot name half of the Ten Commandments and half think Noah was married to Joan of Arc.[1] And you may also want to hear a parallel example from Dr. Bart Ehrman who is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and who is also a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. Every year Dr. Ehrman would ask his undergraduate classes about their views of the Bible, and he would amazingly get the same response. He says:

The first day of class, with over three hundred students present, I ask: “How many of you would agree with the proposition that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?” Whoosh! Virtually everyone in the auditorium raises their hand. I then ask, “How many of you have read one or more of the Harry Potter books?” Whoosh! The whole auditorium. Then I ask, “And how many of you have read the entire Bible.” Scattered hands, a few students here and there. [2]

If that is the trend, how sure are we that we aren’t ignorant of Islamic Faith?

Someone once said, “self-cure starts with self realization and confession” and hence if you are ignorant of something, please admit that you are ignorant. And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” If you are ashamed of admitting your ignorance, then the chances are that you may not learn anything. Why don’t you heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin, who quipped: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.”

Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

The following is an excerpt from the Book “They are Either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”, containing statements of brave men who got the courage to admit that they are ignorant of Islam. Read the excerpt:

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Confirmed Ignorance

“I’m ashamed to admit it, but before September 11, I didn’t pay much attention to Islam… when it comes to Islamic culture and history and its long engagement with the west, I was virtually ignorant.” [3]

~ Jeremy Rifkin

He is the well-known American economist. He is the author of The Age of Access and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington

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People are ignorant about the religion of Islam. People don’t understand that Islam today is a European religion . . .” [4]

~ Ingmar Karlsson

Ingmar Karlsson was Sweden’s consul general in İstanbul since September 2001. He had previously served as ambassador in Prague and Bratislava. Karlsson is a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa at Lund University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Växjö. He also studied business administration, political science and the history of ideas and learning at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He has authored more than 10 books on the subjects of Europe’s relationship with faith, terrorism, Islam and minorities. Some of his books, include: Islam and Europe – confrontation or coexistence? (1994), The Stepchildren of Europe – minorities without a mother-nation (2003), Faith, terror and tolerance – essays on religion and politics  (2004), and A Europe of the regions (2006)

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One third of Australians are completely ignorant of the Islamic faith . . . .” [5]

According to the 2006 survey conducted by Roy Morgan research in Australia.

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Americans Ignorant of Islam . . .” [6]

A title from Islamonline reflecting the poll by Pew Research Center

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Most Americans have never read a verse from the Qur’an, nor met a person they knew to be Muslim. Their distorted images of Islam come from snippets of television news and headlines that falsely link Islam with terrorism and the degradation of women. They have no awareness of Islamic principles and beliefs—monotheism, peace, charity, compassion, interfaith tolerance, women’s rights—common principles that should bind Muslims, Christians, and Jews together.” [7]

~ Paul Findley.

He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for 22 years. He is the author of the bestselling book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront the Israel Lobby.

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People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11. Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance . . . . As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance.” [8]

~ Gary Leupp

Gary Leupp is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program. In his article he clarified his identity saying, “Oh, and by the way, I’m not a Muslim, but what those on the Christian right revile as a “secular humanist.”

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“The totally erroneous statements made about Islam in the West are sometimes the result of ignorance, and sometimes of systematic denigration.”[9]

~ Maurice Bucaille

He was a member of the French Society of Egyptology, a medical doctor, and chief of the surgical clinic at the University of Paris.  Apart from being a specialist in gastroenterology, Dr. Bucaille is also the author of various scholarly works. He was once a family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and also some of his patients were relatives of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. At the age of 50, he devoted his time to learn the Arabic language. He had also embarked on a deep study of Islam and Qur’an. Dr. Maurice Bucaille is associated with two medical eponyms.

For More Confirmed Ignorance [Updated in 2015]:

“Almost two-thirds of Americans don’t know a Muslim. What they know is ISIS, al Qaeda, and Charlie Hebdo” [10]

~Todd Green, a religion professor at Luther College in Iowa.

 

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}


Buy Ebook Smart

 

Footnotes

[1] . “The Bible v the Koran, the battle of books.” The Economist 22 Dec. 2007: p.60.

[2] . Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.226.

[3]. Rifkin, Jeremy. “Dialogue is a Necessity.” The Guardian 13 Nov. 2001.

[4]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[5]. “Third of Aussies ignorant about Islam: survey.” The Age 20 March 2006.

[6]. IOL Staff. “Americans Ignorant of Islam: Poll.” islamonline.net 26 Sep. 2007. <http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1189959448918&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&gt;

[7]. Findley, Paul. Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.

[8]. Leupp, Gary. “Challenging Ignorance on Islam: a Ten-Point Primer for Americans.” Counterpunch 24 July 2002. <http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp0724.html&gt;

[9]. Bucaille, Maurice, M.D. The Bible, the Qur’an and Science. Lahore: Kazi publications, 1977 . pp. 110-111.

[10] Ingram, Paul. “Phoenix Mosque Sees Anti-Islam Protesters Parading ‘Muhammad Cartoon Contest”  Huffington Post 29 May 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/29/phoenix-mosque-islam_n_7473592.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592&gt;

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

Because it is commonly known, even by the journalist Abdulrahman al-Rashed, that “self-cure starts with self realization and confession”, we are confident that there is always hope for change but as long as you are conscious that you are ignorant rather than pretending you are smart. Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

People who have a chance of becoming successful are those with the courage of saying “maybe you’re right” or the flipside of it, “maybe I’m wrong”. And if you believe that prejudice never shows much reason then we may want to ask, have you ever let the following statement cross your mind: “Maybe Muslims are right and we are wrong?” We should have the audacity to say like Marcus Tullius Cicero: “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know.” Or like the determination of Saul: “. . . I have been a fool, and have made a great mistake.” [1 Samuel 26:21] And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” However, after recognizing who we really are, we should then dispel the curse of ignorance through studying about God and end up submitting to Him. It is those who are infinitely ignorant who are denied access to the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, all of us were born ignorant of many things but it was through study and examination that stupidity vaporized. And if you treasure the advice of Benjamin Franklin, then heed his precious words: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” You can always be smart unless you proudly chose to be a bastion of ignorance. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” [Proverbs 1:22]

Reason and seeking knowledge about God can wrestle and overthrow ignorance. And whenever the know-nothing criticizes you for becoming a serious questor after the Truth of religions, always remember to “. . . turn away from the ignorant” [Q 7:199] Be humble and emulate the model of righteous people who walk on the surface of the earth in humility and sedateness, “. . . and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” [Q25:63] and keep on doing good because “. . . by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” [1 Peter 2:15]

The yes-we-can philosophy can help you jump from the planet of ignorance to safe landing in the Empire of Smart people. We believe that by becoming a member of smart people you will reap a great deal of benefits for “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20] Whether sin is ignorance or ignorance is sin, what is worth-celebrating is that there is always a way out. The Qur’an has this message to the ignorant:

Allâh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allâh will forgive and Allâh is Ever All­Knower, All­Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. [Q 4:17-18]

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

 

Buy Ebook Smart

“But what human judgment outweighs the commandments of God on the scales of opinion? What “person of God” would ever say, “Well, yeah, God forbids it, but I think it’s okay?”[1]

~ Dr. Laurence B. Brown, MD

Author of The Eighth Scroll, MisGod’ed, God’ed, and Bearing True Witness

You can’t say, “I think the earth is square” when there is an established fact that the earth is spherical. You can’t say “I think Switzerland and Swaziland are neighboring countries” when there is an easily reachable atlas indicating that Switzerland is located in Western Europe while Swaziland is in the African continent. You should not say, “I think Obama and Osama are twins because their names closely match.” You can’t say “I think it’s ok to drink sulfuric acid because it looks like water” when you can get a litmus paper to conclusively determine whether the solution is acidic or not. Similarly, you can’t say, “I think all religions are right, they worship the same God”, “I think Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism e.t.c. represent differing paths to the same destination!”, “I think the true religion is . . .”, “I think the purpose of life is to eat, live and die”, “I think when people die, they go to heaven . . . ”e.t.c., when there is an authentic source to factually answer all these questions. Mere opinions which are not backed by scriptural evidences are unreliable. With opinions, you certainly have a right to be wrong but with facts, you don’t have a right to be wrong. This resonates well with Thomas Sowell who said “reality is not optional.”

The true word of God is enough to eliminate the “I think syndrome”. The true scripture contains the words of God. And when God says, it is a fact not a hypothesis/assumption/possibility. God’s Word is truth [Psalm 119:160; John 17:17] and God “. . .  cannot lie . . .” [Titus 1:2]. All doubts are normally silenced in confidence of divine guidance. It is an act of total ignorance to pretend you are smarter than God. By disagreeing with what He informs you through His (authentic) scripture for He is All-Knowing. “Should He (i.e. God) not know,- He that created? and He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them).” [Q 67:14.] The authentic scripture will factually answer what the true religion is? What is the purpose of life? What happens during and after death? Who will go to hell? How to live on earth? . . . and any other dilemma humans have. There is no room for thinking when the right answer is readily available. Ignorance in the absence of information may be excusable, but willful ignorance in the face of the True Word of God is a global disaster. Samuel Johnson said: “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know the subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.” Now, wanton display of ignorance is when we don’t know the subject ourselves and we don’t bother knowing where to find information on the subject. However, when one is pushed to make an opinion, he should know full well that it is not a fact. He should say “that’s just my opinion,” but he must always end with, “I could be wrong.”

A semblance of success will be seen when we discard the unfounded opinions or attitudes vis-à-vis religion. As it is said, “Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.” Amazingly, the Muslim Holy book elucidate on people who are doomed by saying that “. . . most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.” [Q 10:36] And Prophet Muhammad said, “. . . there will remain ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to their opinions whereby they will mislead others and go astray.”[2] There is another story where some knowledge-deficient men gave an opinion which was to be followed by their sick fellow. As a result, the sick man died because by implementing the opinion suggested, it aggravated his sickness. On hearing this, Prophet Muhammad became very angry at these men who gave a wrong opinion. “Why didn’t they ask (from an authentic source) when they were ignorant,”[3]the prophet said.

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9.  Just click here to buy the book}

Buy Ebook Smart

FOOTNOTES


[1]. Brown, Laurence B. MisGod’ed: A Roadmap of Guidance and Misguidance in the Abrahamic Religions. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007.pp. 275-276.

[2]. Bukhari, Vol. 9, Bk. 92, No. 410.

[3]. Narrated by DaraQutny.